In November 2022 Dutch vet Els van den Berg M.Sc., DVM and UK farrier Jeff Newnham DipWCF spent a week in Fez Morocco to provide Dentistry & Farriery CPD at The American Fondouk.
The American Fondouk was founded in 1927 at the behest of Amy Bend Bishop, an American traveller who was distressed by the poor conditions of the many working animals in Fez Medina. It is a unique non-profit organization dedicated to providing people-to-people aid through offering free veterinary care for the hard-working donkeys, mules, and horses of Morocco. Treating working animals in the developing world is considered to offer a significant contribution towards safeguarding the livelihoods of the poorest and most vulnerable members of the community, both in the towns and in the countryside. It also offers education in horse care and nutrition which is also critical to improving not only the welfare of these animals but the welfare of the owners and their families who depend on them.
The dentistry CPD was divided into demonstrations by Els van den Berg covering dental care / regular maintenance, tooth extraction, nerve blocking for dental procedures. The ‘hands-on’ element enabled those vets, technicians and visiting students with an interest in dentistry to receive excellent instruction on tool and equipment maintenance before moving onto the actual work of equine dentistry. All work was supervised and scrutinised by Els van der Berg who worked tirelessly from dawn to dusk guiding attendees through routine care to complex extraction.
The farriery CPD was based on patients at the Fondouk that presented with a podiatry element. These included various hoof infections, bilateral contracture of DDFT and laminitis. A large part of the farriery CPD was devoted to the safe handling of equines; positioning oneself in a safe position when lifting feet up, holding the feet (hands-free) to enable the use of farriery tools, examining feet with hoof testers for lameness, removing shoes and trimming. Stance and conformation evaluation using external markers cross referencing with x-ray.